When I was a kid there was this huge box in my Mum’s wardrobe. It was enormous and absolutely filled to the gunnels with photographs. I used to sit and devour them.
There were a load of black and white square pictures with a white rim around the edge, probably taken in the fifties. They all had scrawly handwriting on the back that I could never read. There were a heap of seventies photographs that had curved corners and were all brown tones, was everything brown in the seventies?? And then there were ones when I came along.
God I loved sitting looking in that box. I could kill hours just shuffling through them all and pestering mum to tell me over and over who the people were, where they were taken, how old was I in each one and could she unlock the mystery of the secret scrawly messages on the back?
Did your parents have a box?
I think most of us that were born in or before the eighties will be totally familiar with the box of photographs. I’m gonna bet that you also had a ton that you took yourself of holidays when you were a kid, school trips, right through to drunken nights out (once you were legitimately old enough to drink of course!).
I went through one of those wee disposable cameras every other weekend. Sooo many photographs filled with a different me, in a different time, with a very different outlook on the world.
And then it stopped. I got a phone with (let’s face it) a seriously crap camera and it replaced taking actual printable pictures. You did that too didn’t you?! And now, when I look back I have proof that I was once twenty one and from then on I have a stash of Nokia bricks kicking about in a drawer somewhere that haven’t switched on since the early noughties.
There’s a quote that I love by Missy Mwac;
“In 50 years, the most photographed generation in history will have no pictures. Print what you want to preserve.”
How true is that? I’m still guilty of not printing! I only print stuff that I take with my big girl camera. My phone stuff - the real, proper, crazy, messy family stuff just gets left on my phone. Occasionally my other half will move photographs on to a laptop for storing, but once they’re there we don’t do anything with them.
My last phone was barely two years old when it randomly died. And that was it, kaput. I had a ton of images/videos of the kids I’d never backed up or saved elsewhere and that was them gone.
That clever woman is utterly spot on. Our kids won’t have a box. If they’re lucky someone will have saved the files somewhere and transferred them across into whatever format is the new format by then. But it's not the same is it?
I want my kids to have a box filled with their littleness. I want them to be able to sit for hours surrounded by scattered pictures that are a little dog-eared with scrawly writing on the back and I want to sit beside them and explain who everyone is in the pictures and where they were taken and how old they were in each one.
And I want this for you and your kids as well!
So spend a night or two (it’s no mean feat I’m sure) and sift through your phone and get some pictures sent off for printing. I’ll even give you a hand with where you should get it done…check out my 'Where to print your photos', blog post.
And just so you know that I’ve taken my own advice, these are my kids with their own little box of memories they’ve already forgotten. I’m hoping it helps them remember forever!